On occasion, he has sparked criticism from the Ukrainian government. In August of last year, for example, following a car bombing that killed the daughter of an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the pope declared: “The innocent pay for war, the innocent! Let us think about this reality and say to each other: War is madness.”
At the time the Ukrainian ambassador to the Holy See claimed that the pope had conflated the categories of “aggressor and victim” with his remarks.
Quoting partly from “Ukrainian Lessons,” Gallagher said that “interpreting [Francis’ positions] as ‘acts of empty pacifism’ and ‘theatrical’ expressions of ‘pious desire’” is a misguided analysis of what the pope believes.
Such a dismissal, Gallagher said, “does not do justice to the vision and intentions of the Holy Father, who does not want to resign himself to the war and who stubbornly believes in peace, inviting everyone to be creative and courageous weavers and artisans of peace.”
The pope “clearly said that he made the distinction between aggressor and attacked, with the incontestable certainty that the whole world knows well which is which,” Gallagher argued.
Pope Francis last month sent Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski to Ukraine for the prelate’s sixth humanitarian mission to the war-torn country, with the Vatican stating that Krajewski was traveling to “be with the people, pray with them, and bring an embrace and concrete support from the pontiff.” The cardinal brought with him medicines and medical supplies.